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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Simply delightful and fun adventures

Scarlet Stone
Posted 6/16/21

Life is good! I recently bought a RadRunner electric utility bicycle online and it has been great to ride again and not feel defeated by huffing and puffing up any hills. There are four levels of …

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Simply delightful and fun adventures

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Life is good! I recently bought a RadRunner electric utility bicycle online and it has been great to ride again and not feel defeated by huffing and puffing up any hills. There are four levels of pedal assist on the bike so all I do is twist the right handle grip and power is engaged. Zoom! The bike was largely assembled when it arrived and is real sharp looking in olive green matte finish with black fenders over twenty-inch wheels....great for short people. It can go 45 miles per battery charge and 20 miles an hour on level ground but will go further if you pedal assist. This girl got some fun gear, too, like a really “Rad” black helmet, black open finger-padded palm gloves, a water bottle holder and a comfy seat. Next comes a set of black saddle bags for light cargo and an odometer to monitor distance. It has been delightful cruising the paved Mesabi Trail system that is right across the street from my house in Soudan. I love breathing in scents of warm pine needles and flowering plants as I move down the trails through the woods, plus, it reminds me of being a carefree kid. I even have a little bell to alert unaware pedestrians of a possible onslaught. My first trial ride was doing circles through soft grass in my empty second lot to gain balance and an acceptable level of skill before hitting the pavement.  What a great summer toy it is and so thrilling to finally be able to reach the top of the hill with breath intact and no intensely burning calf muscles.
So aside from being a biker-chick...I am on the cusp of yet another adventure! This time it will be to visit my brother and sister-in-law in Maryville, Mo. Due to the COVID-19 intrusion, it has been a year and a half since I last saw them. I asked if we should wait for August to give me time to bolster my finances following my other recent vacation to the Upper Peninsula. The answer was, “No, we need you now!” I loved hearing that...who wouldn’t?” My brother Paul is driving north to collect his only sis and haul me south where I get to laugh, shop and play for several days before flying back from Kansas City, Mo., to Minneapolis. I am so excited and grateful that I am worth the cost of a one-way ticket thanks to the two of them. I am traveling with carry-on luggage only, so if I buy anything big it will travel north with Paul when he heads back to northern Minnesota later this summer. Sis and I love to hit antique and thrift stores so one never knows, however we are both paring down our households these days as we try to be more selective about what we buy.
Getting ready to go on any trip is lots of work partly because I can’t leave my house a complete mess. I always clean very well before Paul comes to visit even though he doesn’t care about dust in corners or a random hair in a bathroom sink. I’ve adopted the adage I saw on a plaque in a shop one time, “Dust is just a country accent!” I am checking things off my to-do list like sucking up the cat-hair tumble weeds that were collecting in corners on my wood stairs so Paul won’t have hairy build-up on his socks. I do joke, but I am amused how cat hair forms tumble-puffs. There is also packing to do, and my three bathrooms need to be tidied. Paul is focusing more on being newly retired than on surface issues and is easing into a very relaxed mode. I totally get it and am so proud of his long career as a Professor of English Literature at Conception Abbey in Missouri. In addition to being a teacher, he is a talented writer, painter and guitarist, too. I imagine he will hang out on my deck in the comfortable northern Minnesota air and drink plenty of coffee and do much reading while he is here. He will enjoy Chewie, the tame chipmunk that now visits my big log feeder up on the deck railing. In the winter it’s for the birds or whatever....but now it seems to be Chewie’s private platter. He lets people pet him. I haven’t done that yet because I remember as a kid, while feeding one, it thought my thumb was a peanut and grabbed and bit it. This was followed by the 13-mile car ride to town listening to my dad rant about me getting bit. He was so mad and to make things worse he said if the thing had rabies I’d probably be dead by the time he got me to the Cook Clinic for painful shots in the stomach. The practice of petting chipmunks immediately triggers memories of that unfortunate situation.
So, if all goes as planned, Paul and I will soon wheel out of Tower and drive the 11 hours south to Maryville. Our plan is to split the driving, and get there with little delay so the three of us can have as long a visit as possible. Sis booked a hotel room in Kansas City, two hours south of Maryville, for one night and we will hopefully visit my nephews and niece, too. The plan sis is plotting out is to hit River Market Antiques, check out Ophelia’s Restaurant for a visually stunning and fresh salad, the downtown square, some thrift shops and Pride’s Kitchen store...and wait...I could sure use a trip over to Penzey’s for spices. We are also planning to take in a drag queen show at a great place called Hamburger Mary’s. I have a fistful of one dollar bills to tip the queens and am excited to see their flashy costumes! Hey, it’s a great big world out there and this Iron Range girl enjoys it. While sis and I shop and carry on...overdosing on the delights of being together again, brother Paul will visit favorite bookstores and coffee shops. Like so many men, shopping falls at the heels of his list of favorite activities. He has always been an avid reader....while I am an avid “doer,” and he is a fine coffee connoisseur, often traveling with his own beans and grinder. What a fine blend of siblings we are. We also plan to drive to Independence and tour the Vaile House Museum...built in 1881 by Colonel Vaile and his wife. It was once touted by the Kansas City Times to be the “most princely house in the entire west.” I love history and look forward to seeing the Gothic style exterior, the showy gardens, followed by the fineries inside. We will spend some time north in Maryville, too, at their house and when the vacation ends, Paul will drive me south to the airport in Kansas City and I will fly to Minneapolis where my sunny-tempered friend Linda will pick me up from the airport and return me to the far north. She deserves a present for arranging her schedule to accommodate my vagabonding. My former husband, since converted through trial and tribulation to a close friend.....Bill, will stay at my house and take care of my two kitties. I lost my oldest cat, Colby just a few weeks ago and won’t be replenishing my livestock. Two will do! My mornings will be totally meow-free for a bit and I am looking forward to that. Isn’t it such an added treat to know beloved pets are being cared for while they pout in abandonment? This favor from Bill warrants the gift of a nice T-shirt or hat instead of a vintage souvenir fridge magnet or kitschy Lewis and Clark tourist miniature. I predict this is going to be a stress-free vacation ...from start to finish, and I have no doubts it will provide new stories to tell.

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